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Saturday, 25 May 2013

UEFA Champions League Final 2013 Pick

It has been a good year for the Champions League, for the most part, and we have seen a lot of decent games and top performances from sides and I don't think too many people would argue with the two teams that will be contesting the Final on Saturday 25th May at Wembley Stadium.

Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were considered amongst the favourites to win the competition by the end of the Group Stage and both have put together some impressive wins to get here.

There has been the controversy in the tournament, and I am still not happy with the way the last ever Champions League campaign for Sir Alex Ferguson was ended. It was a poor decision to send of Nani in the loss to Real Madrid and it is no surprise that the manager was as devastated as he was if he had really made the decision to bow out at the end of season back in December as he has stated.

Now all of that will be forgotten as the two best teams in the Bundesliga and, arguably, the two best teams in Europe this season will meet in the Final on English soil.

Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich Pick: This is the first ever all-German European Cup Final and only the fourth time in the almost 60 years the competition has been run that two teams from the same domestic League will contest the Final.

Real Madrid met Valencia in 2000 and were comfortable winners on that day, but the games between AC Milan-Juventus and Manchester United-Chelsea were both settled on penalties. There is no doubt in my mind that games between domestic rivals, particularly with so much at stake, can descend into wanting 'to avoid defeat' contests.

Neither team would want to lose to the other and that may make this a tight game, rather than the expansive one we are all looking forward to. Also look at their games from this season- these sides have met four times this season with the scores being two 1-1 draws in the League and two Bayern Munich wins in the Cup (2-1 and 1-0 scores).

Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are certainly evenly matched and they will be all too aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each side.

The absence of Mario Gotze does hurt Dortmund in this game, while they will also feel the pressure of wanting to win this competition with the 'small window of opportunity' they usually have. Back in 1997 their side won the Champions League, but began to lose players to 'bigger' clubs and with Gotze already signing with Bayern Munich, there are rumours that Robert Lewandowski will also be leaving this summer.

That brings a pressure of its own as Dortmund will want to rubber stamp this period in their history by adding the Champions League to the back to back Bundesliga titles they have won in the last couple of seasons.

On the other hand, Bayern Munich have to exorcise the ghosts that have seen them lose at this stage of the Champions League in 2010 and 2012, the latter coming in heart-breaking fashion in their own stadium. I have no doubt that their players will also be feeling the burden of trying to overcome those losses, but the experience may also prove to be crucial in the game.

Both sides will be confident of their chances and I do think this is going to be a lot closer than the odds are suggesting with Bayern Munich being pounded all week. I do believe most have got it right by picking the Bavarian giants to finally add another European Cup to their trophy cabinet, but I can't see this ending in a comfortable win.

I think it will be tight throughout, and may take one moment of magic to separate the sides. Backing Bayern Munich to win their third Cup tie against Dortmund by a one goal margin looks the call, although I would recommend keeping units to a minimum.

MY CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL PICK: Bayern Munich to win by one goal (English Handicap Draw) @ 3.80 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)

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